What type of motor is the best? What type of drive should I choose for my e-bike?
There are three main components that make an e-bike electric: an electric motor, a battery and a display. The battery provides power to the motor and the display helps you control the amount of power you want. It is important to know the basic types of drive systems to know which ones are the best for you.
Currently, we have two types of motors for e-bikes. One is the wheel motor, also known as the hub motor; the other is the centre drive, which is also called the mid drive. Currently, customers have the opinion that the centre drive is of a better quality, but they have no explanation for this statement other than an article in a magazine written by a centre drive seller. You should understand that neither type of motor is better than the other, but that they have different advantages depending on what you need.
Wheel motor / hub motor
The wheel drive is currently the most common on the market, and it certainly has many merits and a lower price than the centre drive. This motor gives you more flexibility in choosing the power of the pedal you want because it drives the wheel, instead of the crank (where your pedals connect), which allows the wheels to turn fast, even if the pedals are not turning.
The disadvantage is the sometimes uneven balance of the wheel, especially when the battery is located on the rack. This results in more pressure on the components at the back of the bike and a slightly less smooth power dosage.
Currently, the prices for the cheapest, but still high-quality e-bikes with hub motors is around 1,200 EUR.
- Most commonly used motor type
- Instantaneous acceleration
- Ability to drive without the help of a motor
- Higher wheel load at the rear
- Lower sensitivity for motor power dosage (depending on the sensor used)
- High level of engine noise
- Inefficient energy management at higher loads (higher consumption compared to the centre motor)
The centre drive system / mid drive
A mid drive motor is located in the middle of the e-bike frame near the bottom, where the cranks are. These motors will surprise you with a comfortable dose of performance and a short battery assist reaction time. Furthermore, the centralised motor placement in the crank ensures better weight distribution on the e-bike. Reliability and efficiency are built in and they are typically more powerful than the hub varieties, with a power rating between 50Nm and 80Nm of torque.
Very often the disadvantage is a higher purchase price of the e-bike. But the higher price is repaid in a longer engine lifetime; plus the more expensive e-bikes usually have better equipment. Popular mid drive systems are Bosch, Brose, Shimano Steps, Yamaha and Bafang.
- Higher performance
- Simple service
- Quiet and smooth motor operation
- Optimum balance and weight distribution
- By choosing the right gear, you can control both the speed of the bike and the motor, so you can achieve the optimum speed at a lower power consumption
- Can cause more wear on the chain and cogs because this is where the power is transferred
- Higher sensitivity to adjustment and gearshift accuracy
- When riding without battery assist, gear motor resistance is possible (according to type)